Chumpcar – Buttonwillow 2012

While the Javelin is laid up with a blown motor I’m not totally out of options for racing. It’s time for another round of Chumpcar racing with the Dirt Track Pirates. This time last year was our first race weekend in the RX-7. If you haven’t read my write-up from last year let me just say it was a disaster. It was fun and a real learning experience but the car was only on track for 7 of the 14 hours of the race and we finished almost in last place…

We followed that race up with a double 7 hour Chumpcar race weekend at Fontana in Oct. of 2011. That weekend went much better. We came in 2nd in both races! Now it was time for our 3rd outing. We had high hopes. Was a win finally in our grasp?

We got into Buttonwillow Friday afternoon and unloaded and got through tech. Then we hit Willow’s Ranch for dinner and turned in for a good nights sleep. Got up early and already knew it was going to be a scorcher! The race started at 9am and went till 11pm and the temp was north of 100 degrees for almost all of it! I heard people say it was 107 in the paddock mid-day… Dan had set the driver order and pit strategy and Joe headed out first. Then it was my turn and after me Dan went and then Jeff. Everything was going great until we got black flagged for going too fast under a yellow. They pulled us into the pits for what should have been (we think) a drive through. Instead they held us for a full 5 minutes which dropped us back a couple of laps.

We were in the top 4 all day and even lead for a while but after the black flag we were playing catchup the rest of the race. Because of the heat the race was red flagged two separate times. In both cases someone had heat stroke and the ambulance had to take them to the hospital. We couldn’t race without an ambulance on station so the race was stopped until a replacement ambulance showed up.

It was brutally hot in the car. Several teams were running cool shirt setups and we are DEFINITELY doing that next year. But this year we just had to roast. Each stint was about an hour and forty five minutes. After my first stint I climbed out and thought I might pass out. The only thing that saved me was the towel the guys dunked in the cooler of ice water. It was soaking wet and I just covered my head and shoulders with it. Probably took me a 1/2 hour before I started feeling ok again…

In the end we came in 4th… not bad but we were hoping for more. However, because of our 2nd place finishes at Fontana and the 4th place finish here we’re qualified for the regional championships at Sears Point (formerly Infineon) in December. Can’t wait!

*sorry no pics/video yet. I know it’s lame. Didn’t really take any still pics and haven’t had time to throw together a video. Will get to it eventually and update this post.

ChumpCar, Racing

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